Here in South Florida we live in paradise, and are the envy of most of the US because our warm climate, but living in paradise sometimes comes with a price. Hurricanes are a part of life here and although we sometimes go for years with no major storms, we do get some hurricane seasons with plenty of storms. Like 2017 has been the most active storm season we have seen in a long time. While we live in an area where houses are built to with stand hurricane force winds the worst part comes after the hurricane, when the power goes out. We have all been there and when its hot and muggy especially at night we all think to ourselves, I wish we had a stand by generator, while our neighbors that do have one are living like nothing even happened.
A mojority of people we have recommended these stand by generators to were not aware of how easy it actually is to get one, there are many reasons why one might think that a generator is out of reach, but with the right info any one can have one installed and ready for the next storm in just a few short steps.
Good question, I am glad I asked it. Residential stand by generator systems are composed of
Pretty simple right? These are the main components of this system, while there are more items needed like a generator pad, conduits, wiring, and controls we will explain these main parts and hopefully shed some light on how they work and how easy it is to actually have one installed.
There is 3 main types of generators, propane, natural gas, and diesel, mostly residential units are propane or natural gas and if you currently have gas in your home then you are one step ahead of the pack. The way these generators work when installed on your property, is by electrical cables and control wiring that terminate in a transfer switch, this transfer switch acts like a power selector. Which means you can pick what power you want to use to feed your electrical system of your home, on automatic transfer switches they are equipped with voltage sensors on your utility power side (FPL) and when there is a power outage the transfer switch sends a signal to your generator and it kicks on and restores power to your home, all of this happens in a matter of seconds. Also the transfer switch will also notify the generator when the normal power is restored and switch back to normal power with you not having to move a muscle.
Sounds great right? It is, there is nothing like having power and AC when the rest of your neighbors wished they did, because when a storm knocks out power there is no telling how long you will be without power, it could be a few hours or weeks. I have been there before on a hot summer night sweating and trying to sleep but its just too miserable. But getting a generator is easier than you might think once you know your options.
Like we mentioned in the previous paragraph there is 2 types of transfer switches, manual which require you to physically push up or down a lever to switch from utility power to generator power, the other type which is the one everyone is interested in is the automatic transfer switch which does all the wok for you, Automatic transfer switches or ATS also can be equipped with load shedding panels or modules.
Load shedding is basically a system that monitors how much power is being used by your home and when the power your home requires becomes more than what the generator can produce it will shed some loads, hence the name. For example, you have your AC running and are washing close using the cloths dryer and oven, but now you are using more power than the generator can produce, well the load shedding device will simply stop supplying power to one of the appliances which you can select from most important to least important. Most customers will choose to shed the dryer first, then maybe the oven, but never the AC. In the end Load shedding is simply a protection system that protects your generator from being over loaded. Then when there is more power available it will restore power to whatever appliance that was disconnected.
Another good question, it might be easier than you thought. First of all you will need a licensed electrician that installs these systems, once you found your electrician he will come to your house to take some information like your electrical service size, how much power you actually need, budget and specs of your property for generator placement.
Once these items have been discussed and agreed upon, the next step is permitting, which will require a set of drawings showing a load calculation, placement of the generator, location of electrical equipment and layout of the property. These items along with a permit application will then be submitted to the city for approval, once they are approved the fun begins. Your electricians will start right away and do the underground work that will carry the power from the generator to your ATS and the control wiring, then the generator pad get set and the transfer switch goes in between the meter and the panel with required wiring. Then you need a rough inspection for the underground and wiring within the ATS, and once the generator is installed, programmed and tested. You will be ready for final inspection, and thats it. You are now prepared for the next storm.
There are a few variables to this question like what size generator, do you have gas or will you need above ground or below ground tanks, and difficulty of installation. But normally for a 2000 to 3000 sq ft house the prices have ranged from 8,500 to 20,000 all in, that includes:
Do not let the numbers scare you, we offer many options, from 3 payments, to financing, and credit cards. We make it easy to get your home prepared for the next storm. Give Power Pro Electrical a call today for a free estimate and we can discuss these options with you in more detail. Remember its always better to be prepared and have it and not need it than need it and not have it.